Daily Archives: February 12, 2011

Books for Conservatives (but liberals should read this too): New Threats to Freedom

So it’s been a while since I recommended a book, sorry about that. But right now I’m going to recommend a book that I recently discovered New Threats to Freedom edited by Adam Bellow.

This selection of original essays offers something to entertain, enlighten and offend both those on the left and the right. It is a discussion of the various forms that threats to our beloved liberties are coming from. And believe it or not it’s not just liberals in the government who we should be trying to oppose. Society, the overly religious, the ivory tower, and our own indifference are forces that have some of most beloved (although sometimes overlooked) liberties at stake. Probably our own indifference being the biggest threat. But Obama does rank a close second it seems.

None of the essays sound like they come from a crazed person wearing tin foil and talking about the CIA—quite the opposite in fact, as all of the writers are not only calm and logical in their cases, but know their way around the written word as well. (This collection for instance reminded me why I can’t help but love Christopher Hitchens, even in spite of his rabid atheism).

Economic rights are certainly covered, so conservatives should be happy, but our social rights, as liberals are keen to point out, are also at threat. Like the right to make mistakes or the right to eat what isn’t healthy for us.

Of particular poignancy, even though this book was written about a year ago, is the essay “The Abandonment of Democracy Promotion” by Tara McKelvey on how we have stopped trying to export democracy represents a threat to our freedom. The key example used in the essay is that we have ceased our spending for democracy promotion in Egypt. … I wonder, do you think that might come back to bite us in the ass?

I won’t go over every single essay, the writers in this collection do much better than I could, but I would say that I found almost every selection insightful and enlightening. However of my personal favorites I would suggest you read are:
“The Decline of the American Press Freedom” by Anne Applebaum
“Multiculturalism and the Threat of Conformity” by Christopher Hitchens
“The Fairness Doctrine” by David Mamet
“The War on Negative Liberty” by Katherine Mangu-Ward
“The Tyranny of the News Cycle” by Robert D. Kaplan

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Filed under Books for Conservatives, Conservative